SwopStakes, a racing jackpot based on multiple race outcomes, received a $15,000 cash prize for winning the 2015 Innovators’ Circle pitch competition at the the Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming in Tucson, Arizona.
SwopStakes was developed in Australia by Shaun Pyrah, Director of Strategy for Six Faces, an interactive wagering company. The three-judge panel deemed it the most
promising of the four finalists in the Innovators’ Circle, a pitch contest created to drive innovation in horse racing.
Doug Reed, Director of the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program which sponsored the Symposium, presented Pyrah the trophy symbolic of winning the Innovators’ Circle award. Reed said that the Innovators’ Circle would be continued and refined for the 2016 Symposium.
Submissions to the Innovators’ Circle contest came from five continents. The contest, which is based on the TV show “Shark Tank”, was developed by gaming author Vin Narayan and Hai Ng, partner of Neomancer LLC, in conjunction with the Race Track Industry Program.
The other finalists consisted of pitches for an Equine Standing 3D CT Scanner; “20 Wins A Million,” a no-cost game sponsored by tracks to attract millennials; and the Thoroughbred Stock Exchange, a new model for horse ownership.
Judges of the Innovators’ Circle were John Ford, CEO of BAM Software & Services, LLC; John Hartig, Chairman and CEO of the Daily Racing Form; and Mike Tanner, executive vice-president and CEO of U.S. Trotting Association.
The judges asked the presenters extensive questions after they finished their pitches. Members of the audience were also given the chance to quiz Innovators’ Circle speakers.
Audience members had a chance to pick their favorite pitch in the Innovators’ Circle They voted for the Equine Standing 3D CT Scanner, which has the potential to prevent catastrophic breakdowns by pinpointing horses most susceptible to injuries while racing. The project was given $1,000 for being the audience's favorite pitch.